Commentary Magazine


Topic: model for economic revival

Another Summit

The “jobs summit” today typifies the root of the Obama team’s misguided thinking on jobs. In place of policies that would aid in private-sector job creation, the administration has provided an oversold and ineffective stimulus plan, lots of dog-and-pony shows, much heated rhetoric about Wall Street excesses, and a grab bag of policies that makes things worse. For starters, the looming debt, as Robert Samuelson explains, has created “the perception that the administration will tolerate, despite rhetoric to the contrary, permanently large deficits [that] could ultimately rattle investors and lead to large, self-defeating increases in interest rates. There are risks in overaggressive government job-creation programs that can be sustained only by borrowing or taxes.” But that’s not all, as Samuelson observes:

Obama can’t be fairly blamed for most job losses, which stemmed from a crisis predating his election. But he has made a bad situation somewhat worse. His unwillingness to advance trade agreements (notably, with Colombia and South Korea) has hurt exports. The hostility to oil and gas drilling penalizes one source of domestic investment spending. More important, the decision to press controversial proposals (health care, climate change) was bound to increase uncertainty and undermine confidence. Some firms are postponing spending projects “until there is more clarity,” [Moody’s Economy.com Mark] Zandi notes. Others are put off by anti-business rhetoric.

The jobs summit ignores all that and offers up yet another campaign-type event in lieu of productive governance. This is at the heart of not only the jobs problem but also much of what ails the administration. Rather than a useless summit, the administration would do well to consider a package of tax cuts designed to bolster hiring and an agreement to hold off on job-killing legislation. (Gary Andres highlights a useful model for economic revival: the state of Texas.) But in fact, the administration is going in the opposition direction. That — and another dopey jobs summit — are surefire signs that the administration is a long way from getting its act together.

The “jobs summit” today typifies the root of the Obama team’s misguided thinking on jobs. In place of policies that would aid in private-sector job creation, the administration has provided an oversold and ineffective stimulus plan, lots of dog-and-pony shows, much heated rhetoric about Wall Street excesses, and a grab bag of policies that makes things worse. For starters, the looming debt, as Robert Samuelson explains, has created “the perception that the administration will tolerate, despite rhetoric to the contrary, permanently large deficits [that] could ultimately rattle investors and lead to large, self-defeating increases in interest rates. There are risks in overaggressive government job-creation programs that can be sustained only by borrowing or taxes.” But that’s not all, as Samuelson observes:

Obama can’t be fairly blamed for most job losses, which stemmed from a crisis predating his election. But he has made a bad situation somewhat worse. His unwillingness to advance trade agreements (notably, with Colombia and South Korea) has hurt exports. The hostility to oil and gas drilling penalizes one source of domestic investment spending. More important, the decision to press controversial proposals (health care, climate change) was bound to increase uncertainty and undermine confidence. Some firms are postponing spending projects “until there is more clarity,” [Moody’s Economy.com Mark] Zandi notes. Others are put off by anti-business rhetoric.

The jobs summit ignores all that and offers up yet another campaign-type event in lieu of productive governance. This is at the heart of not only the jobs problem but also much of what ails the administration. Rather than a useless summit, the administration would do well to consider a package of tax cuts designed to bolster hiring and an agreement to hold off on job-killing legislation. (Gary Andres highlights a useful model for economic revival: the state of Texas.) But in fact, the administration is going in the opposition direction. That — and another dopey jobs summit — are surefire signs that the administration is a long way from getting its act together.

Read Less




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.